Additional Details Emerge on How U.S. Government Policy Created, Armed, Supported and Funded ISIS

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Telling Hasan that he had read the document himself, Flynn said that it was among a range of intelligence being circulated throughout the US intelligence community that had led him to attempt to dissuade the White House from supporting these groups, albeit without success.

Despite this, Flynn’s account shows that the US commitment to supporting the Syrian insurgency against Bashir al-Assad led the US to deliberately support the very al-Qaeda affiliated forces it had previously fought in Iraq.

The US anti-Assad strategy in Syria, in other words, bolstered the very al-Qaeda factions the US had fought in Iraq, by using the Gulf states and Turkey to finance the same groups in Syria. As a direct consequence, the secular and moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army were increasingly supplanted by virulent Islamist extremists backed by US allies.

It should be noted that precisely at this time, the West, the Gulf states and Turkey, according to the DIA’s internal intelligence reports, were supporting AQI and other Islamist factions in Syria to “isolate” the Assad regime. By Flynn’s account, despite his warnings to the White House that an ISIS attack on Iraq was imminent, and could lead to the destabilization of the region, senior Obama officials deliberately continued the covert support to these factions.

“It was well known at the time that ISIS were beginning serious plans to attack Iraq. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey played a key role in supporting ISIS at this time, but the UAE played a bigger role in financial support than the others, which is not widely recognized.”

Springmann says that during his tenure at the US embassy in Jeddah, he was repeatedly asked by his superiors to grant illegal visas to Islamist militants transiting through Jeddah from various Muslim countries. He eventually learned that the visa bureau was heavily penetrated by CIA officers, who used their diplomatic status as cover for all manner of classified operations — including giving visas to the same terrorists who would later execute the 9/11 attacks.

Thirteen out of the 15 Saudis among the 9/11 hijackers received US visas. Ten of them received visas from the US embassy in Jeddah. All of them were in fact unqualified, and should have been denied entry to the US.

– From the excellent article by Dr. Nafeez Ahmed: Officials: Islamic State Arose from U.S. Support for al-Qaeda in Iraq

Investigative journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed has been relentless in exploring and highlighting U.S. government complicity in the origins and eventual success of ISIS. In case you aren’t familiar with his work, here’s a quick bio:

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the ‘System Shift’ column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye.

He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award, known as the ‘Alternative Pulitzer Prize’, for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work, and was selected in the Evening Standard’s ‘Power 1,000’ most globally influential Londoners.

Nafeez has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Anglia Ruskin University.

Dr. Ahmed has been leading the way in documenting how declassified documents from the Pentagon prove that U.S. intelligence officials warned the White House that supporting al-Qaeda just to depose of Syria’s Bashir al-Assad would have serious blowback and end up funding and empowering radical Islamic extremists. The White House ignored this advice.

Two years later ISIS exploded onto the scene, and the American public was once again relentlessly fear-mongered into turning its sole, determined focus toward fighting this barbaric external enemy birthed by U.S. government policy. Civil liberties and treasure must once again be bequeathed to the military-intelligence-industrial complex to combat an enemy it funded and armed in the first place. The cruel joke; however, is that just like al-Qaeda before it, ISIS was a direct creation of intentional U.S. foreign policy.

The entire charade is frighteningly similar to giving the Federal Reserve more power to “save” an economy it destroyed in the first place. Am I the only one seeing a pattern here?

But I digress. Back to the topic at hand, which is the fact that the retired head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Michael T. Flynn, has admitted that the White House made a willful decision to support al-Qaeda fighters in Syria against Assad despite warnings from the intelligence community. These fighters, and others, later became ISIS.

Here are some excerpts from Dr. Ahmed’s incredible article. Prepare to have your mind blown:

A new memoir by a former senior State Department analyst provides stunning details on how decades of support for Islamist militants linked to Osama bin Laden brought about the emergence of the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS).

The book establishes a crucial context for recent admissions by Michael T. Flynn, the retired head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), confirming that White House officials made a “willful decision” to support al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists in Syria — despite being warned by the DIA that doing so would likely create an ‘ISIS’-like entity in the region.

J. Michael Springmann, a retired career US diplomat whose last government post was in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, reveals in his new book that US covert operations in alliance with Middle East states funding anti-Western terrorist groups are nothing new. Such operations, he shows, have been carried out for various short-sighted reasons since the Cold War and after.

But in a recent interview on Al-Jazeera’s flagship talk-show ‘Head to Head,’former DIA chief Lieutenant General (Lt. Gen.) Michael Flynn told host Mehdi Hasan that the rise of ISIS was a direct consequence of US support for Syrian insurgents whose core fighters were from al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Back in May, INSURGE intelligence undertook an exclusive investigation into a controversial declassified DIA document appearing to show that as early as August 2012, the DIA knew that the US-backed Syrian insurgency was dominated by Islamist militant groups including “the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda in Iraq.”

Asked about the DIA document by Hasan, who noted that “the US was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups,” Flynn confirmed that the intelligence described by the document was entirely accurate.

Telling Hasan that he had read the document himself, Flynn said that it was among a range of intelligence being circulated throughout the US intelligence community that had led him to attempt to dissuade the White House from supporting these groups, albeit without success.

Despite this, Flynn’s account shows that the US commitment to supporting the Syrian insurgency against Bashir al-Assad led the US to deliberately support the very al-Qaeda affiliated forces it had previously fought in Iraq.

Far from simply turning a blind eye, Flynn said that the White House’s decision to support al-Qaeda linked rebels against the Assad regime was not a mistake, but intentional:

Prior to his stint as DIA chief, Lt. Gen. Flynn was Director of Intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command.

Flynn is the highest ranking former US intelligence official to confirm that the DIA intelligence report dated August 2012, released earlier this year, proves a White House covert strategy to support Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Syria even before 2011.

Right-wing pundits have often claimed due to this background that the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq was the key enabling factor in the resurgence of AQI, and its eventual metamorphosis into ISIS.

This is key to understand. Jeb Bush and other neocons are attempting to claim that the Iraq invasion wasn’t what led to the creation of ISIS, but that it was the decision to withdraw that caused it. While ridiculous on its face since there wouldn’t have been troops to withdraw if the U.S. government hadn’t invaded in the first place, Flynn’s revelations disprove this theory even more scathingly.

But Flynn’s revelations prove the opposite — that far from the rise of ISIS being solely due to a vacuum of power in Iraq due to the withdrawal of US troops, it was the post-2011 covert intervention of the US and its allies, the Gulf states and Turkey, which siphoned arms and funds to AQI as part of their anti-Assad strategy.

There you go. That’s where ISIS really came from.

In 2008, a US Army-commissioned RAND report confirmed that the US was attempting to “to create divisions in the jihadist camp. Today in Iraq such a strategy is being used at the tactical level.” This included forming “temporary alliances” with al-Qaeda affiliated “nationalist insurgent groups” that have fought the US for four years, now receiving “weapons and cash” from the US.

In the same year, former CIA military intelligence officer and counter-terrorism specialist Philip Geraldi, stated that US intelligence analysts “are warning that the United States is now arming and otherwise subsidizing all three major groups in Iraq.” The analysts “believe that the house of cards is likely to fall down as soon as one group feels either strong or frisky enough to assert itself.” Giraldi predicted:

During this period in which the US, the Gulf states, and Turkey supported Syrian insurgents linked to AQI and the Muslim Brotherhood, AQI experienced an unprecedented resurgence.

Meanwhile, Turkey, a close U.S. “ally” is actively bombing Kurdish forces who are successfully fighting ISIS. No, I’m not making this up. See last week’s piece: Turkey Bombs Kurds Fighting ISIS, Then Hires Same Lobbying Firm Supporting U.S. Presidential Candidates.

Moving along…

In the same month, the European Union voted to ease the embargo on Syria to allow al-Qaeda and ISIS dominated Syrian rebels to sell oil to global markets, including European companies. From this date to the following year when ISIS invaded Mosul, several EU countries were buying ISIS oil exported from the Syrian fields under its control.

The US anti-Assad strategy in Syria, in other words, bolstered the very al-Qaeda factions the US had fought in Iraq, by using the Gulf states and Turkey to finance the same groups in Syria. As a direct consequence, the secular and moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army were increasingly supplanted by virulent Islamist extremists backed by US allies.

In February 2014, Lt. Gen. Flynn delivered the annual DIA threat assessment to the Senate Armed Services Committee. His testimony revealed that rather than coming out of the blue, as the Obama administration claimed, US intelligence had anticipated the ISIS attack on Iraq.

It should be noted that precisely at this time, the West, the Gulf states and Turkey, according to the DIA’s internal intelligence reports, were supporting AQI and other Islamist factions in Syria to “isolate” the Assad regime. By Flynn’s account, despite his warnings to the White House that an ISIS attack on Iraq was imminent, and could lead to the destabilization of the region, senior Obama officials deliberately continued the covert support to these factions.

US intelligence was also fully cognizant of Iraq’s inability to repel a prospective ISIS attack on Iraq, raising further questions about why the White House did nothing.

Intelligence was not precise on the exact timing of the assault, one source said, but it was known that various regional powers were complicit in the planned ISIS offensive, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey:

“It was well known at the time that ISIS were beginning serious plans to attack Iraq. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey played a key role in supporting ISIS at this time, but the UAE played a bigger role in financial support than the others, which is not widely recognized.”

No surprise there. We knew about this years ago (see: America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq).

Back to Dr. Ahmed…

“The Americans allowed ISIS to rise to power because they wanted to get Assad out from Syria. But they didn’t anticipate that the results would be so far beyond their control.”

This was not, then, a US intelligence failure as such. Rather, the US failure to to curtail the rise of ISIS and its likely destabilization of both Iraq and Syria, was not due to a lack of accurate intelligence — which was abundant and precise — but due to an ill-conceived political decision to impose ‘regime change’ on Syria at any cost.

Springmann says that during his tenure at the US embassy in Jeddah, he was repeatedly asked by his superiors to grant illegal visas to Islamist militants transiting through Jeddah from various Muslim countries. He eventually learned that the visa bureau was heavily penetrated by CIA officers, who used their diplomatic status as cover for all manner of classified operations — including giving visas to the same terrorists who would later execute the 9/11 attacks.

Thirteen out of the 15 Saudis among the 9/11 hijackers received US visas. Ten of them received visas from the US embassy in Jeddah. All of them were in fact unqualified, and should have been denied entry to the US.

Springmann was fired from the State Department after filing dozens of Freedom of Information requests, formal complaints, and requests for inquiries at multiple levels in the US government and Congress about what he had uncovered. Not only were all his attempts to gain disclosure and accountability systematically stonewalled, in the end his whistleblowing cost him his career.

Springmann’s experiences at Jeddah, though, were not unique. He points out that Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted as the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, received his first US visa from a CIA case officer undercover as a consular officer at the US embassy in Khartoum in Sudan.

The ‘Blind Sheikh’ as he was known received six CIA-approved US visas in this way between 1986 and 1990, also from the US embassy in Egypt. But as Springmann writes:

“The ‘blind’ Sheikh had been on a State Department terrorist watch list when he was issued the visa, entering the United States by way of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the Sudan in 1990.”

We should all thank Dr. Ahmed for this service for publishing this article. Please spread it around to everyone you know. It’s imperative the world understand just how ISISI came into being.

Personally, it seems clear to me that U.S. foreign policy has been so inept and destructive over the past couple of decades, it often brings to mind the quote:

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.

I’ve asked this sort of question before. For example, here’s an excerpt from the article, The Forgotten War – Understanding the Incredible Debacle Left Behind by NATO in Libya.

There are only two logical conclusions that can be reached about American foreign policy leadership in the 21st century.

1) American leadership is ruthlessly pursuing immoral wars all over the world with the intent of creating outside enemies to focus public anger on, as a conscious diversion away from the criminality happening domestically. As an added bonus, the intelligence-military-industrial complex makes an incredible sum of money. The end result: serfs are distracted with inane nationalistic fervor, while the “elites” earn billions.

2) American leadership is completely and totally inept; being easily manipulated into overseas conflicts by ruthless corporate interests and cunning foreign “rebels” in order to advance their own selfish interests, which are in conflict with the interests of the general public.

I can’t come up with any other logical conclusion. Either way, such people have no business running the affairs of these United States, and their actions are merely increasing instability and violence across the planet. The longer they remain in charge with no accountability, the more dangerous this world will become.

This observation remains as relevant as than ever before.

Now here’s the interview with Michael T Flynn referenced in Dr. Ahmed’s article:

For related articles, see:

America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq

Afghan President Hamid Karzai Slams U.S. Foreign Policy in Farewell Speech

“Stop Thanking Me for My Service” – Former U.S. Army Ranger Blasts American Foreign Policy and The Corporate State

More Foreign Policy Incompetence – U.S. Humanitarian Aid is Going Directly to ISIS

Turkey Bombs Kurds Fighting ISIS, Then Hires Same Lobbying Firm Supporting U.S. Presidential Candidates

How the Policies of U.S. Ally Egyptian Dictator, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Have Led to a Surge in ISIS Recruitment

Accusations Emerge That the U.S. Is Aiding ISIS – The Latest “Conspiracy Theory” Circulating in Iraq

The Forgotten War – Understanding the Incredible Debacle Left Behind by NATO in Libya

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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